(l-r : Gallant, Goofus)
Earlier today during the Marlins/Mets matinee, SNY’s Kevin Burhardt, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez observed that Mets 3B David Wright is one of the game’s truly nice guys, with the third-baseman’s mom and dad receiving special praise for their parenting skills.
Though I don’t know Wright personally, I have no reason to doubt the firsthand accounts of Burkhardt, Cohen or Hernandez. If they believe David Wright is a kind, considerate person in good times and bad, they’d know far better than me. But I don’t recall at any point during Jose Reyes’ tenure in Flushing, being told that his effervescent personality was a testament to his parents’ guidance and inspiration.
The purpose of this post isn’t to bury the Mets TV crew. I happen to think they’re wildly entertaining (in good times and bad) and I don’t believe there’s a weird agenda on their part (certainly ownership isn’t encouraging them to build up Wright’s market value). But there’s been a bit of revisionist history of late (subtle and otherwise) about Reyes’ contributions as a Met and whether or not he ranks as one of the club’s all-time greats. The New York Daily News’ Bill Price (“your (sic) the enemy now, pal. deal with it”), argues the former Amazins’ shortstop isn’t even in their top 5 position players.
When you talk all-time Met position players, four jump out immediately: Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. I think Ed Kranepool, Rusty Staub, Cleon Jones, Mookie and David Wright go on that list ahead of Reyes. And if you ask me, HoJo and Maz may get the nod, too.
Ok, I know Reyes has some of the best numbers in the franchise’s history, but this is not about numbers, if it were, John Franco and Armando Bentiez would be ahead of Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell on any list.
This is about what he meant to the franchise. Listen, Jose was a great Met, very exciting, hit a lot of triples, stole a lot of bases, but he is also one of the faces of an unacheiving group that blew two division leads and lost an NLCS to an inferior opponent.
It’s a fascinating argument, one that’s only slightly undermined by the difficulty I’m having finding archival footage of Piazza’s early years in the Mets farm system, or the ticker-tape parade down Broadway after he led the club to a 2000 Subway Series victory over the Yankees. Likewise, Rusty Staub (!) had only 3 1/2 seasons as a full-time player in Queens, but clearly that 1973 World Series triumph over Oakland stands in stark contrast to Reyes’ role in single-handedly ensuring a Game 7 loss to St. Louis in 2006.
And who amongst us would ever call David Wright, “one of the faces of an unacheiving (sic) group that blew two division leads and lost an NLCS to an inferior opponent,”?